Giraffes are one of the most beautiful and graceful animals. They are the tallest living animal and come from Africa. Males are typically 16 to 20 feet tall when fully grown and weight 3,500 pounds. In a gallop the giraffe can reach 37 mph while appearing to glide effortlessly. Humans have been captivated by these majestic animals for millennia. The bushmen from Africa perform a medicine dance named the giraffe which is performed to treat head injuries. Humans hold a fondness for the giraffe, even to the point of the national toy store, Toys R Us using the giraffe as their mascot.
So what is the significance of giraffes that prompted me to write a blog called “Calling all Giraffes”? Last December I was hospitalized for a fairly significant infection. While I was in the hospital a young man named Taron Pounds visited me and brought a stuffed giraffe. Taron is the son of one of my wifes best friends. I had known him through his mom, Tammy for about 7 years. Taron came to the hospital with his mom and brought the little giraffe. It says something about a 20 something that they would bring something to an old fart like me in the hospital. It’s just the kind of thing that Taron does.
Taron is a great kid, I think he is 24 now. When I met him first he was in high school. He was warm and one of those people who everyone was his friend. He can flash a smile and you know this is someone you feel comfortable with. As I am a guitar player (and I say that very loosely) I was thrilled to hear he played. I then heard he REALLY played. Taron won several competitions in high school playing jazz guitar and even was granted a scholarship to NSU for his guitar talent. They don’t give scholorships for good, they are reserved for great. I finally ACTUALLY HEARD him play in a state competition. The word prodigy would not be inappropriate. His passion and ability were overwhelming. I was a fan. When we met we usually talked guitar. As I sit here typing today I am listening to Eric Johnson, a guitarist I was introduced to by Taron.
The saturday after independence day, Taron was in a wedding. That’s a picture of him after the wedding. That night celebrating, they were setting off professional fireworks. A great time for all until something tragic happened. One of the commercial shells fired into Taron’s face and exploded. Taron was airlifted to St. Francis hospital. His injuries were so extensive that they did not have the capabilities to treat him. They stabilized him and then flew him to OU Med Center in Oklahoma City. The explosion had literally blown away one side of his face. While everyone was thankful he survived, it was evident that he has a long fight ahead of him.
My wife and I were visiting, at the hospital the Monday after this occurred and his cousin brought a small giraffe, much like the one Taron had given me. She explained that it was from Taron’s grandmother. When she was in the hospital, Taron brought this giraffe to her. See, Taron believes that the giraffe has healing powers and it sure didn’t hurt for his grandmother’s recovery or mine. When I returned home from the hospital that day, I grabbed the giraffe Taron had brought to me and another one we had and sent them back to Taron at the hospital. I told his mom, Tammy they were on loan to Taron until he got better. I don’t know if giraffes have healing power, but I do know love does and I want Taron to wake up to the healing power of love from people he has touched. Can you imagine 100 giraffes looking down over Taron?
If you are moved to help this young man in any way there are several ways you can help. This link will take you to the Taron Pounds Facebook recovery page. It updates his progress and lists events you can join to help. His frat brothers have held a car wash, there is a blood drive coming in Tulsa, several bands including LetsZeppelin are planning a benefit for him in the future, they have bracelets available and you can always send a giraffe to him at the OU Med Center. His recovery will be long and not easy but I’m betting on the positive energy of the young man who brought me the giraffe to beat it all.
Maybe I’m a little selfish but I just want to hear him play the guitar again.